Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healthy Morning Treat

Remember how I told you I was going to trivia the other night? Well I did and it was as fun as last time.

Only difference was this time we came in third! We actually won something. We won two $10 food credits to the pub, which means next time we'll have free food--and hopefully get first place!

Anyways, Tuesday night was fun, but Wednesday night was yummy. I was invited to a Yom Kippur dinner at a friend's house and the food was delicious. My favorite? Kugel. I have to say, when one of my friends described a sweet-and-salty pudding, I was skeptical, but once I tried it I was amazed. It was scrumptious. Who would have thought a combination of pasta, vanilla, sugar, butter and Corn Flakes--yes Corn Flakes--could taste SO good.

I didn't just have kugel for dinner though, I ate matzo-ball soup, turkey and a lot of Challah--one of my absolute favorite breads. Oh and a hefty slice of cheesecake. Needless to say, Wednesday night was enjoyable. But come Thursday morning, I was in need of a fresh and healthy breakfast. Cue muesli.

Muesli is a combination of soaked oats, nuts and fruits. Before yesterday, I had only ever had it at hotel breakfast buffets, but every time I did I would end up wanting more. So now that I learned how easy it is to make it, I'll be having it at home more often than not.

The recipe calls for fresh ingredients, so it's best made the night before you want to eat it, but it will last in the fridge about 3 days. Just add the fresh fruit until right before eating it.

Alpine Muesli (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Active time: 25 mins. Total time: 4 hours or overnight
Makes 4 servings.

  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt, not Greek
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, not quick-cooking
  • 3 tablespoons honey 
  • Juice from one orange, about 1/3 cup
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 cup skin-on almonds, chopped
  • 1-2 cup mixed fresh fruit, such as sliced strawberries, raspberries or bluberries
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth; stir in oats. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. 
  2. Stir together honey and orange juice in a medium bowl. Peel apple and grate or finely chop. Add apples and almonds into juice mixture. 
  3. Combine juice mixture with soaked oats and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide muesli among four bowls and serve topped with fresh fruit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rainy Day Pound Cake

As I was uploading my photos from this weekend's post, I realized I had a batch of lost pound-cake photos on my memory card. So I decided tonight's post could use them--since instead of cooking I will be attending trivia!

Hopefully my team won't be the worst this time. I can't say for sure, but I'm almost certain that we came in last two weeks ago; so here's to getting more than half the questions right tonight!

I made this pound cake for my family about a month ago. Turns out despite its not-so-pretty appearance, it is quite delicious. To all of you who have never checked out Epicurious' Blue Ribbon recipes, do so ASAP. But seriously though, the ones I have chosen from their list have all been tasty.
Anyways, the cake was moist and flavorful. I had no blueberries, so I didn't serve it with fruit, but I'm sure any berry would complement it nicely. It's the perfect cake to savor while sipping on a cup of earl grey tea--bonus points if it's raining/snowing outside. Enjoy!

Blue Ribbon Pound Cake (adapted from Epicurious)
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time:
Makes 8 servings.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature (at least 30 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
For the glaze
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1. Place oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 9 by 5 by 3 inch metal loaf pan, tapping out excess flour.
    2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in zest and vanilla. 
    3. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternating in five batches, beginning and ending with flour; mix until just incorporated.
    4. Spoon batter into loaf pan and bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs, about 60 minutes. Transfer cake in pan to rack and cool for 30 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.
    5. In the meantime, whisk confectioner's sugar and 4 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix until thick but pourable. If too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and continue whisking; keep adding small amounts of confectioner's sugar and/or lemon juice until you get the right consistency. 
    6. Once cake is completely cooled, pour lemon glaze over the top and let drip down the sides. Sprinkle with more confectioner's sugar (optional)

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

    Steamy Shallot Soup

    Here it is. The post that will break my no-blogging rut.

    I know it's been a while, but the beginning of the semester--and of senior year--has spread me so thin I sometimes have trouble waking up in the mornings (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little). Anyways, I haven't had time to plan and execute meals until tonight.

    Before I get to the food part, let me recap the month. September 4th marked the day of my last year of college--how terribly sad. That first week was a breeze, but the next one not so much. I was preparing to visit my sister in NYC the weekend of September 15-16--the real Mexican Independence Day, for all of you who think it's on Cinco de Mayo--so I had to finish all my work before the weekend. NYC was amazing; it was a mini vacation. My sister and I met up with a high school friend, walked around the city on Saturday, strode on Highline park and drank refreshing gin cucumber cocktails to start off the night. Later, I met up with some middle school friends and ended up in a rooftop party ready to celebrate Mexico. Sunday was a day of much needed rest and reading.

    Then there was last week. It was stressful, but exciting. For one, I got an internship at a newspaper for Spanish-speaking Bostonians.

    And then there is the highlight of the month: my half-marathon training. Two months ago, when I started the my training, I couldn't really see myself running 13.1 miles. That's more than I usually ran over the course of a week. But now, one week away from the grand finale (I am running it next Sunday in Hampton Beach) I'm as proud and confident as I'll ever be. I'm hoping to run it in an ok time, but just finishing it would be enough to keep me happy for the rest of the semester.

    Anyways, let's get to the food. Yum!

    If you like french onion soup, you'll love this shallot soup. It boasts a mixture of sweet and savory flavors. The strong taste of the shallots is complemented by the crunch of the roasted nuts. Make sure each spoonful includes melted cheese, because it makes it even better. Enjoy!

    Caramelized Shallot Soup (adapted from Martha Stewart)
    Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 70 minutes.
    Makes 5 cups.

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 cups 1/4-sliced shallots (about 1.5 lbs)
    • 1/3 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
    • 3/4 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese, about 3 oz.
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and a pinch of salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. 
    2. Add wine and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add broths and bring soup to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until soup is reduced by one third, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. In the meantime, heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add hazelnuts and sauté, stirring constantly, until crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add cheese and cilantro and toss.
    4. Serve soup topped with hazelnut-cheese mixture.